In light of the rush to move communications online, we’ve been asked which video conferencing software we recommend. While we are not technology experts below is our humble opinion based on our experiences and feedback from clients.

Overall preference: Zoom

Pros – Most importantly, it has the most reliable performance. There are lots of additional features – even on the free package. We particularly liked the shared whiteboard feature. On the paid package there is the ability to create break-out groups and do group polls on calls. There is even the option to “Touch up my appearance”!

Cons – You can only do 40 minute sessions on the free package. Also something to be aware of is there is no toll-free dial-in numbers for the US or the UK. Participants need to download the app.

Go to meeting

Pros – you can personalise your meeting room although it’s not of huge benefit. It is easy to use and set up. You can add on additional packages ‘Go to Webinars’ and ‘Go to training’ if that is more what you need the software for.

Cons – we have had some problems with video quality particularly pixelating video images. While it “does what it says on the tin” there are fewer bonus features than you will find with Zoom.

Google Hangouts

Pros – we really loved the ability to turn on captions. It converts what you are saying directly into text. It wasn’t 100% accurate but is a nice accessibility feature. Very easy to set these calls up too – it embeds easily into Google calendar invites.

Cons – The quality is not always so good unless you have an excellent connection. In some ways it is simpler than other options as you do not have to download the app but given the range of Google products on offer it can be confusing to use.

Slack

Pros – great for internal teams sharing documents, messaging together constantly and the group call functionality is fine.

Cons – not so useful for calls outside the team so you wouldn’t use Slack to have calls with clients for example

MS Teams

Pro – similar to Slack it has rich functionality for sharing within teams. We really like the function of being able to blur your background even if it distracted us by playing with it for a good three minutes!

Cons -Quite arduous to get into and set up for the team. Like Slack it is designed for sharing within internal teams rather than external presentations and meetings.

Why we have not covered Facetime/Skype/Whatsapp

These are great tools for personal conversations. They are not our first choice for formal video conferencing because it means that your clients/colleagues/business associates would forever have access to your personal video conferencing and would be at liberty to call you any time. To maintain control and professionalism, one of the above would be our preferred options.

And finally…

Some online tools are blocked in different jurisdictions (Zoom is blocked in the UAE for example) so make sure in advance your audience can access the tool.

 

Let us know your experience of these tools. Which is your preferred option or are there any bugbears about any of these that we haven’t covered?